Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 01.14.2023

The Casket and Funeral Details of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Casket and Funeral Details of Martin Luther King Jr.



4 min read

Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.?

When you think of Martin Luther King Jr., you may automatically find yourself recalling the words “I have a dream.” Those were the opening words in King’s famous public speech during a march for civil rights in Washington in 1963. 

And it was just one of the many marches and nonviolent protests that American Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr. participated in and led during his lifetime. He was the most vocal spokesperson and leader in America’s Civil Rights Movement, and the face of the movement resisting against discrimination of the people of color in the country. King was also a strong advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience, which he believed was the most effective way to bring about change. He was arrested multiple times for his activism and was also the target of several assassination threats. 

Sadly, his inspiring efforts to promote equality for all people came to an untimely end when King was shot by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968. The assassination occurred as King stood in the balcony of his motel in Memphis, where he had gone to support sanitary public work employees. 

The Final Farewell: Details Of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Casket, Memorial Service And More

Following the shooting of Martin Luther King Jr., he was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital and later pronounced dead. Thereafter, a memorial service was organized for King in Memphis, where his body was placed in an open bronze casket in R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home. 

After the service in Memphis, King’s body was flown home to Atlanta for a second private funeral. This was concluded by a procession, where Martin Luther King’s casket was loaded onto a wooden farm wagon pulled by two mules from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College, so the public could pay their respects. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Honoring The Activist In Death And Beyond 

In the wake of King’s death, American politicians John Conyers and Edward Brooke introduced a bill in the Congress to honor the activist’s birthday as a national holiday. However, it was only fifteen years later, in 1983, that President Ronald Reagan signed the bill for the holiday into a law. It was then first observed three years later. 

Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January every year. Also known by other names like MLK Day, King Day and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day, it is a federal holiday on which most government offices, businesses and schools remain closed.

Why We Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated to honor the legacy of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and to recognize his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. The holiday is a time to remember the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought for civil rights and to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of peace, justice, and equality for all people.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is also a day of service, where people are encouraged to volunteer in their communities and to reflect on King's life and legacy. People across the United States participate in parades, marches, and community service projects to commemorate King's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and to promote unity and equality.

Then And Now: How Things Have Changed In The Years Since MLK Jr.’s Funeral 

Back in the day, the norm was to visit a funeral director in person to make arrangements for the ceremony or service after someone passed away. Occasionally, if a person was already terminally ill, these arrangements were made in advance. In the case of Martin Luther King Jr. too, it only happened coincidentally that he met his funeral director a couple of days prior to his assassination. 

However, today, it is much easier to preplan a funeral and make all the arrangements for a memorial well in advance. You can purchase a plot in your local cemetery and even pay for most of the expenses beforehand, so your loved ones need not worry about it later. Purchasing a casket is also less of a hassle today, since you can browse different models and shop for a casket online.

Titan Casket gives you the option to purchase different kinds of caskets online, including steel, wooden, oversized, eco-friendly, religious and clear caskets. You can also pre-plan your casket purchase and lock in today’s price, thus giving your loved ones one less thing to take care of when they may already be grieving.